Marketing and advertising firms play a critical role in communicating information between business and customer. What are the differences between the two? To begin, let’s run through a brief definition of each.
Entrepreneur.com defines advertising as, “calling the public’s attention to your business, usually for the purpose of selling products or services, through the use of various forms of media, such as print or broadcast notices.”
Marketing is defined by Investopedia.com as, “the activities of a company associated with buying and selling a product or service...marketers try to get the attention of target audiences by using slogans, packaging design, endorsements and media exposure.”
When taking these definitions into consideration, we understand that advertising is only a small piece of marketing. Imagine marketing as the big picture – advertising might be the colors, or the shapes, or the images used to create that picture. Marketing is a much broader category than advertising; with it comes goals, market research, strategies, budgets, analytics, and of course the 4 P’s (product, place, price, and promotion – advertising falls under this category).
Now, you’ve heard about how the world of marketing has taken a left turn, gone through the woods, over a couple of bumps and across the street. And I’m not just talking about marketing tools – people have changed too. Which is the reason why modern marketing is drastically different from traditional marketing. The industry has been transformed from a selling field into an educational field. It’s always been about lead generation and ROI…but the new method of how we get there is with blogging, with social media, and with customer relationship management.
These tools have expanded the realm of marketing. Marketing firms now have specialized departments to focus on opportunities such as blogging and social media, which means the role of a marketer’s advertising firm can no longer be thought about in traditional terms.
Advertising firms have altered their practices to keep up with the changing industry. They have welcomed new marketing with open arms and open minds, sending traditional practices to the back burner. Lisa Smith, President of Spoke8 Marketing provides a first-hand example.
As former President of Donovan & Smith Marketing and Media, Inc., Lisa spotted the bumps ahead and chose to adopt new practices. After partnering with Ann Siegle to form Spoke8 Marketing, the two changed gears and put all focus on inbound marketing. This new approach not only kept up with the changing industry, it leapt ahead of it. Lisa, Ann and the team work toward creating and sharing content that people are looking for.
Q: What is the single, biggest thing that has changed in regards to marketing as a discipline?
A: Marketers are using content to connect with their audiences. The ability for consumers to do research on pricing, comparisons, and options has driven consumer content to a major strategy for smart brands.
Q: Do you believe advertising firms have changed their practices in recent years? If so, how?
A: Yes; the proliferation of advertising and digital advertising has further fragmented advertisers’ options, but it’s also created the ability to hyper target. For example, being able to target people with Facebook based on their interests; or with Pandora’s unicast model. You can now reach people in their cars with zero reach outside your target demographic. Unicast allows you to create your own radio station, Pandora can broadcast uniquely to you.
Q: What do you believe sparked this change?
A: Technology. Smaller ad firms and businesses have so many more ways to buy. You have pay-per-click, digital advertising, SEO, social media, and the consolidation of television. There’s an exploding number of cable stations, programming is everywhere. Media budgets are disappearing and small advertising is going away. It’s changing the game for advertising firms.
It’s critical that we understand younger buyers, how they see the world and how they interact with it. They’re watching television but it’s no longer on television screens, listening to music but it’s not the radio, and connecting with friends but not in person.
Q: When you started Donovan and Smith, what was your primary focus?
A: Donovan and Smith was all about media buying and advertising. I was a General Sales Manager for 6 radio stations for 11 years. Just 9 years ago, when somebody was interested in what I did, the question was, “Do you do brochures?” Today it’s, “Do you build websites?”
The question should be, “How can I use my website to ignite growth for my business?” Too many people still look at a website and see it as a brochure. It can be a super-highway of communication for everybody who’s looking for your business category.
Q: How do your practices at Spoke8 differ from this?
A: Today, Spoke8 is focused on building websites that create inbound engagement for searchers that are looking for our clients’ business categories. People still have misconceptions about inbound. In the near future, I think inbound is going to be the norm.
Lisa provides a first-hand example of the changing realm of marketing and advertising. In discussing Lisa’s personal experience she states, “I no longer think of myself as an advertiser, I own a marketing firm.”